Help transform parental concern into a positive conversation about comfortable stooling.
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Stool is one of the few indicators of how well your baby’s digestive system is working, so it’s important to observe the diaper habits of your baby. Since it’s not easy to know what to expect, changes in consistency, color and frequency can be a source of concern. Parents often wonder whether their baby is truly constipated or just having trouble pooping comfortably.
While your baby’s doctor is the authority, refer to this Q&A to find some answers that can set your mind at ease and help your baby feel more comfortable.
What is constipation?
According to the National Institutes of Health, constipation happens when stool spends too much time in the colon. The colon absorbs too much water from the stool, making it hard, dry and difficult to expel.
Is my baby truly constipated or just having difficulty pooping?
Constipation is determined by more than just frequency. One child may go two or three days without a bowel movement and not be constipated while another might have relatively frequent bowel movements but have difficulty passing the stool. Additionally, a child’s constipation may be undetected if he passes a small stool each day while stool builds up in his colon.
To assess constipation, the pediatrician may ask:
While these are probably nothing to be concerned about, there are rare underlying conditions that can cause constipation. To rule them out, it’s a good idea to see your baby’s doctor.
If it’s not constipation, why is my baby uncomfortable while pooping?
Infants have weak abdominal muscles, so bowel movements can be difficult for them — especially since they’re often lying on their backs or sitting on the floor. Straining isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, even when babies cry or get red in the face.
How often do babies typically poop?
Bowel habits of babies are as different as the babies themselves. Some babies poop several times a day while others go every few days, or even less often. A baby’s bowel habits will change as his digestive system matures and his diet changes.
What texture and color is normal?
Formula-fed babies usually have soft, mushy stools while breastfed babies have loose, seedy ones. Once your baby eats solid foods, the stools will be more formed.
Normal colors range from bright green to yellow to dark brown, depending on a baby’s diet. Once he starts solid foods, you might see other colors like purple after blueberries.
Are there any stools I should be concerned about?
If you see these signs, call your baby’s doctor:
What options are helpful for occasional stooling difficulty?
Your doctor may recommend prune juice, bicycling the legs, applying warm towels to the abdomen or other options.
Is there a formula that can help my my baby poop more comfortably?
Enfamil® Reguline™ is an infant formula that is designed to gently promote soft, comfortable stools. It has a clinically-proven* blend of 2 prebiotics that help support your baby’s digestive system. Prebiotics help feed the good bacteria in the intestine with a type of carbohydrate similar to that found in breast milk.
If Enfamil Reguline helps, should my baby stay on it?
Many moms whose babies are helped by Enfamil Reguline continue using it throughout their baby’s first year. Enfamil Reguline has brain-nourishing DHA, beneficial prebiotics and easy-to-digest proteins. It’s an everyday formula that has compete nutrition for healthy growth and development.
* Proven in Enfamil® Infant Formula